As a dentist, your job comes with plenty of rewards. You apply your expertise to people’s lives in ways that genuinely makes them feel better, improving smiles and boosting confidence. Your work matters. As such, it’s never enough to remain stagnant in your education. That’s where dental continuing education (CE) courses come into play, and why it’s so important.
When you’re an active member of today’s medical community, you can’t overlook the fact you’re working in an ever-changing industry.
The work you do today improves the lives of your patients tomorrow. And, over the course of your career, you’ll pass on the skills you learn to others, strengthening the industry as a whole.
Not only that, but with every passing year, new techniques, technologies, and procedures are created. To offer the highest levels of care for your patients, you need to stay informed.
In short, the dental profession simply requires life-long learning.
But, with so many opportunities and requirements out there, where should you start? Where should you focus your time?
Let’s take a look at some of the latest trends in dental CE courses, and how to prioritize your time.
Keeping dental ce courses within your budget
Let’s face it, education can be expensive.
The costs for online and in-person courses can run high, and it’s not always easy to fit within your budget.
When deciding what to learn next, you might need to start with which offerings are most affordable.
So, how much should you expect to spend?
Well, one survey conducted by Spear Education showed a common investment into dental CE courses of between $1,000 and $5,000 per year.
The amount of money spent on dental continuing education events also varies depending on how many credits your state requires you earn per year. Commonly, states require around 15-25 credits per year. (For a full breakdown, you can check out a complete list of state requirements right here.)
You’ll need to consider these factors when deciding which topics you want to pursue.
While continuing education for your career, take care of yourself and your business by budgeting appropriately.
Set an amount you want to spend that suits your needs. Then, look at how many credits your state requires.
From there, you’ll have a much easier time deciding which topics to go after.
what skills you want from your dental CE courses?
When it comes to dental CE courses, can only afford to take so many – both in time, and financially. So, prioritizing your learning becomes a critical factor.
Therefore, start by asking yourself which skills you’d most like to focus on and learn.
Ask yourself, for example, “Do I want to…”
- Learn new clinical skills?
- Discover new technologies?
- Learn better dental practice strategies?
- Refresh my memory on procedures I already know?
- Meet like-minded dentists through my dental CE events?
- Learn how to improve the appearance of my website, office or social media account?
- Simply meet my state’s dental CE requirements?
While it’d be great to cover all of these, it’s not always realistic. Sometimes, you really do need to pick and choose where to focus your time and energy.
For instance, some of the latest emerging trends involve improving clinical skills or the aesthetics of online tools, such as website designs, forms, information, etc.
While this doesn’t mean they’re necessarily the right ones for you, you can always ask your peers which areas they focus on, and why it matters to them.
Asking yourself why you want to learn these things helps you prioritize your education goals. With a clear picture of which direction to take your education, making it happen becomes much easier.
Decide how you want to learn
Once you know what you want to learn, the next step is deciding how you want to learn it.
COVID-19 undoubtedly changed education options around the world, and dental CE classes are no exception. Many educators now adeptly teach virtually, whether through video lessons or well-planned online lessons.
If you have a busy schedule and need flexible hours, an online course could be best for you.
But, maybe you prefer meeting with an educator face-to-face. For many, it’s the best way to learn.
Being in a learning environment, surrounded by people with similar goals to yourself, can increase your likelihood of success.
In-person learning also generally offers you greater networking opportunities with peers and industry leaders. While in-person learning might limit your flexibility, it could increase your professional connections.
Also consider the quality of the education you’re getting. Do some research about the educators you’re looking to work with.
What do other people say about them? Are there any reviews for you to check out online? Is attending a class or interacting with this educator worth your time and money?
If it doesn’t seem like the right fit, or if you don’t find positive reviews about the dental CE course, you should probably look elsewhere.
Additionally, never fear simply reaching out to the institution or instructor providing the dental CE courses. Sometimes the opinions of others is biased, and a simple conversation can provide you the insight you need.
Bringing it together
Life-long learning remains important in any aspect of life, yet even more so in the medical & dental industry.
It’s how you improve and reach the goals you’ve set for yourself, as well as provide the best treatment for your patients.
Of course, it would be nice if you could learn everything, all the time. But, that’s not always realistic. You need to set your priorities.
Decide what you’re willing to spend, and what areas you’d most like to improve upon. Once you’ve nailed down those key areas, it’s time to decide whether virtual or in-person learning works best for you.
Take the time to research what you want to learn, make a plan, and don’t compromise.
The lessons you learn today will keep you and your patients smiling well into the future.
About First Choice Dental Lab
First Choice Dental Lab is a full-service dental lab with locations in Downers Grove, Il. & Wauwatosa, Wi.
We manufacture & customize quality dental restorations for general dentists. We create smiles based on your needs and budget.
We’re here to help you give your patients a reason to smile!
Request your fee schedule today by completing the form on this page.